Sac State University Policy Manual

Academic Program Access for Students with Disabilities

Policy Administrator: Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs
Authority: Update to original policy, February 2, 2006
Effective Date: December 21, 1995
Updated:
Index Cross-References:
Policy File Number: UMA00215.htm

ACADEMIC PROGRAM ACCESS FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES 

The purpose of this policy is to update previously existing policy to ensure that California State University, Sacramento continues to comply with all Federal and State legislation and California State University policies regarding access to academic programs for students with disabilities, particularly the Americans with Disabilities Act.

POLICY STATEMENT

California State University, Sacramento is mandated to provide access to academic programs for students with disabilities consistent with all Federal and State legislation and California State University policies.

Reasonable accommodations, including auxiliary aids, will be provided to students with disabilities when necessary to ensure that they are not denied the benefits of, excluded from participation in, or otherwise subjected to discrimination in any academic program. The University's goal is to provide an equivalent academic experience and learning opportunity, not to guarantee the outcome of the student's educational endeavor.

The University views the provision of reasonable accommodation for students with disabilities as a cooperative effort, involving administrators, faculty, staff and students.

I. SPECIFIC ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

A. The Office of Services to Students with Disabilities (SSWD) is to:

1. Evaluate and certify, based on professional documentation the existence of a disability(ies). For students with learning disabilities, that documentation must be consistent with the diagnostic procedures and standards established by the California State University.

2. Initiate contact with faculty regarding a student with a disability only when authorized by the student and if deemed professionally necessary to do so.

3. Identify and authorize reasonable program access and/or academic adjustments and accommodations for students with verified disabilities. This may entail making
modifications to examinations (e.g., additional time and alternative testing methods); use of educational auxiliary aids (e.g., readers, interpreters, test scribes, note takers,
adapted computers, calculators and tape recorders); and/or a change in classroom space assignment.

4. Work collaboratively with faculty to ensure that the appropriate accommodation is provided. In exceptional situations, e.g., laboratory station modification, consult with faculty in establishing an accommodation plan.

5. Maintain CONFIDENTIAL records for each student with a disability containing documentation of verification of disability, counseling and advising.

B. Students with disabilities are to:

1. Meet with an SSWD counselor in person and provide written verification and documentation of their disability.

2. Consult with SSWD regarding specific accommodation requests, including identifying needs and obtaining approval for specific academic accommodations.

3. Personally contact faculty directly regarding the approved accommodation(s) and provide instructors with SSWD's written verification within the first two weeks of classes or as
soon as feasible for students who are certified within the semester.

4. If a disagreement arises regarding the accommodation, discuss the situation with the SSWD Counselor and, if necessary, initiate the "Conflict Resolution" section of this document.

C. Faculty (any employee who has instructional responsibility) are to:

1. Adopt practices that promote equal opportunity to qualified students with disabilities; to use teaching and evaluation methods that measure abilities rather than disabilities, particularly in tests or examinations. This may entail making modifications to degree requirements, course requirements and practices where appropriate.

2. Implement the accommodations authorized by SSWD, unless:

a. the academic requirement for which an adjustment is requested is essential to the program of instruction being pursued by (the) student, or

b. the academic requirement for the requested accommodation is essential to any directly related licensing requirement; or,

c. the faculty member, in consultation with the appropriate SSWD counselor, determines that an equally reasonable accommodation can be offered.

3. To consult with the appropriate SSWD staff member in a timely manner if a question arises regarding specific recommendations for accommodation, particularly when special/adapted test-taking procedures are required.

4. To treat all matters related to students with disabilities as CONFIDENTIAL in accordance with law and policy.

5. To consult first with the ADA/504 Compliance Coordinator and the School Dean's designee and refer the student to the ADA/504 Compliance Coordinator if a disagreement between a student and faculty member regarding an accommodation is not resolved.

D. Other Campus Staff are to:

1.  Facilitate requests made by students, SSWD or faculty regarding accommodations as appropriate. This may include facilitating a referral to SSWD for students not currently served by this office.

2. Consult with SSWD, when appropriate, if concerned about a student, provided the student's confidentiality rights are not violated.

3. Treat all matters related to students with disabilities as CONFIDENTIAL in accordance with law and policy

II. CONFLICT RESOLUTION

A. This conflict resolution process is meant to address complaints about the provision of appropriate academic accommodations in classes in which students with disabilities are currently participating. The complainant must be able to establish that he or she appropriately requested, in a timely manner, the desired accommodation.  Students with disabilities who feel that they are not being appropriately and reasonably accommodated may contact the University's ADA/504 Compliance Coordinator in the Human Resources Office, 162 Sacramento Hall, (916) 278-6907.

Complaints about the provision of appropriate academic accommodations in classes in which students are no longer participating may be addressed pursuant to the CSUS Student Discrimination Complaint Procedure identified below at 3a. 

1. INFORMAL REVIEW

a. The Director of Services to Students with Disabilities (SSWD) or designee will first seek to resolve the conflict by informal means. This step should take no more than 5 working days, and if successful, can provide a speedy resolution to the dispute.  This step is optional for the complainant. 

2.  MID-LEVEL REVIEW (Interactive Process) 

a. This process is for all complaints, including cases where a fundamental alteration of academic requirement is claimed (see I.C.2.a.above). If an informal resolution is not possible, the ADA/Compliance Coordinator will convene a review panel within 5 working days of receipt of a notification from the Director of SSWD that an informal resolution was not successful.  The review panel will consist of the Dean/designee of the college, one faculty member who is knowledgeable in the area of learning and other disabilities, the Director of SSWD, and a professional staff member of SSWD, who has the expertise in the pertinent disability law designated by the SSWD Director, and, depending on the issues, other academic or administrative personnel as may be appropriate. If one of the SSWD staff members on the panel determined an accommodation for the complainant, that staff member will not participate in the review of that accommodation and will be temporarily replaced by another staff member designated by the SSWD Director.  The panel will then review the claim and render a determination within 10 working days. The timeline may be extended for good cause by the Dean/designee in writing to the complainant.  The Dean/designee has the authority in these matters and is the impartial arbitrator who assures prompt and equitable determinations. The written notification to the complainant will describe the process for filing a formal grievance if the student continues to feel aggrieved. 

b. Current services authorized by the Director of Services to Students with Disabilities (or designee) will continue during the complaint process. Where an accommodation has not been authorized but the SSWD has a reasonable basis to believe the student is disabled, and in need of an accommodation, the SSWD and other panel members will identify and implement what it believes to be an effective alternate accommodation, giving due consideration to that preferred by the student. 

3. FORMAL GRIEVANCE  

a. If an Informal/Mid-Level resolution is not possible, the student will be notified of his or her right to file a formal complaint in accordance with the CSUS Student Discrimination Complaint Procedure with the University's ADA/504 / Compliance Coordinator in the Human Resources Office, 162 Sacramento Hall, (916) 278-6907.  

B. The student has a right to file a formal complaint of discrimination directly with the Office for Civil Rights, United States Department of Education, 50 United Nations Plaza, Room 239, San Francisco, CA. 94102-4987, tel. no (415) 556-4275, or other appropriate Federal or State departments, in lieu of or in addition to using University procedures to resolve the conflict. 

C. Retaliation against someone for filing a complaint of discrimination is prohibited.  A complainant should file a retaliation complaint under the CSUS Student Discrimination Procedure identified above.